This morning Sony Australia announced that PlayStation VR will be coming to Australia in October for the altogether reasonable price of AU$549.
The only catch? The PlayStation Camera, which is necessary for PlayStation VR, will have to be bought separately.
According to Sony, there’s a good reason for that.
Simply put: Sony believes that many people buying PlayStation VR at launch are the type of early adopters who already own a PlayStation Camera.
“We’re just trying to speak to that audience and keep the price down for that audience,” explained Patrick Lagana, Head of Product Marketing at PlayStation Australia.
“We looked at our audience who we create products for — especially new propositions like PlayStation VR — these people are going to be our initial consumers when it comes to PlayStation VR.”
Shuhei Yoshida, in an interview with Tech Insider, said the exact same thing: “We didn’t put it in because many people already own it.”
Patrick mentioned that Sony would absolutely work with retailers to help create bundles for people who do require a PlayStation Camera, but that would be on a case-by-case basis.
“We’ll work collaboratively with retailers to create any specific packages,” he told us. “Retailers will use their own research to get an idea of what they need and create the packages they need to sell to their customers.”
According to Sony, it’s all about making the price accessible the largest possible audience. By keeping the cost low, Sony believe it stands the best chance of reaching that initial core group of PlayStation 4 owners.
“The way we look at it, we have 35m consoles out there,” said Patrick “They are all VR ready — that’s the way we look at it. We want everyone with a PlayStation 4 to get into PlayStation VR.”
The price is a large part of that equation. There’s been a massive backlash, particularly in Australia, to both the Oculus Rift and Vive. Both will most likely cost Australians well over $1000. In that context, PlayStation VR’s pricing seems extremely cheap.
“We understand our market and our audience at a price that is accessible to them,” said Patrick. “That’s our heritage. We’re a tech company and we have that experience. It’s a combination of working with the best components and the best know-how in the company. We have that vision but that accesible price point is really important.
“For us it’s about harnessing the best of Sony, making sure we deliver experiences our consumers expect but also make it accessible to a broad audience.”
As you might expect Sony is extremely excited about the launch of PlayStation VR. The next step: get the device in the hands of as many people as possible. That’s one of the sticking points of VR, and a major obstacle for its chance of mainstream success: you really need to experience it to understand what a major leap forward it really is.
“We are looking different partners across the board, from retailers… well, we cant say too much right now,” said Patrick. “There’ll be some partners you’ll expect others you won’t expect. We just want to get PlayStation VR out to as many people as possible.”